In the south autumn is in November, maybe even mid November. Not so in the northeast. On the way up to Falling Leaves Retreat in Silver Bay, NY, we saw the world in various stages of preparation for the long winter nap. We traveled on Hwy 81, that runs up the western side of the Blue Ridge into Pennsylvania. We started out in dank and dreary weather, but soon were surrounded by waves of color–yellow, rust, bright red. Then suddenly the trees were sticks, pointing and reaching skyward, some brown, some black, some a dull silver. In those places it was desolation. Evergreens were the only relief. Then strangely back to the colors again as we continued up 81, across the New York Thruway. This is autumn, the time between summer and winter. The only season with two names.
The night before the retreat we stayed in Saratoga Springs. We were pleasantly surprised with a walkable downtown. Arty pieces in unsuspecting places on streets with nice restaurants, interesting niche shopping and bookstores. Leaves danced up and down the sidewalk. We found a lovely Italian restaurant that made limoncello martinis and an amazing eggplant appetizer. We knew adjacent Warrensburg from camping there summers when the girls were little. We were delighted with our venture into Saratoga Springs.
Friday dawned sunny and chill but with the promise of a great drive to Silver Bay and we were not disappointed. Stopping at Duffy’s in Lake George for a Philly Cheesesteak we saw the lake we knew from years past. From Duffy’s up route 9N winding around Lake George into Hague we arrived at the retreat location. The road to Silver Bay YMCA dipped and turned and ended with a spectacular view of the northern section of Lake George, blue, calm, wide and probably freezing. The YMCA is a historical treasure of over one hundred years. It is simple, plain, basic. No TV…which was a disappointment to Tom… but with acres of walking trails and a porch wide and inviting. I LOVE porches. The weather was accommodating, warm–for November– we were just 250 miles south of Montreal–clear, fresh from some rain, reminiscent of Ukraine’s Velvet Season. We sat and rocked and just enjoyed the view.
The weekend was spent at the Watson Art Center. A single room with round tables and the warmth of participants gathered for one purpose–to listen, to discuss, to study, to be better at story telling. And the weekend did not disappoint.
Falling Leaves is an autumnal event. As I listened to the each editor’s presentation I was fascinated by the depth of information. I appreciated the breath of topics. The willingness of these editors to share. Autumn is a time to prepare, be ready. Falling Leaves did just that.